Bitty beats | Spring 2012
Two reviews from TOCK’s new kindie-music expert Tor Hyams, a Grammy-nominated music producer and cofounder of Kidzapalooza
Year in the Day
Gustafer Yellowgold is no mere band—more like a multimedia explosion. Offered as a CD/DVD combo platter, Year in the Day is a hand-drawn “musical moving storybook.” Imagine an animated Beatlesque dude, Gustafer, who came from the sun and now is happily uncovering Earth’s best holidays. Let’s just say he has a different perspective. “Fireworks!” takes an apolitical look at Independence Day, and “Werewolves Rock” hands Halloween some 1970s hard-rock licks. From Tin Pan Alley stylings to Queen-esque glam rock, this graphic musical comes to life, while offering two-plus hours of content for the four-and-up crowd. If that wasn’t enough, featured guest musicians include drummer Robert DiPietro (Norah Jones) and bassist Robert Jost (Björk). Having opened for Chicago’s very own Wilco, Gustafer will surely capture the attention of the whole family with his fifth release. Available April 3.
Chris Ballew, a.k.a. Caspar Babypants, is no stranger to making music—he also happens to be the lead singer of the Presidents of the United States of America. Judging from the sheer exuberance of his sound, it seems Chris wouldn’t mind quitting his day job to make music for families full-time. Like all great kindie rock, these tunes are for all ages, despite lyrics that focus on animals (and insects). Although earnest, Hot Dog! packs enough sass and irreverence to put a smile on your grown-up face. With original songs “Stompy the Bear,” “Sugar Ant” and “The Animal Lunch” (plus “This Old Whale,” set to the tune of “This Old Man”), this album will surely get your child up and moving. And maybe you, too. Available April 17.